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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confers a health benefit on the host.1 In humans about 20 different probiotic strains of bacteria exist around the globe.

Historically, probiotics have a very long history of use.  Ancient physicians in the Middle East prescribed sour milk containing lactic acid bacteria for management of diseases including gastrointestinal disorders, tuberculosis and liver troubles.  Before the advent of refrigeration, the diets of our ancestors consisted largely of foods that were preserved through lacto fermentation.  Food prepared this way provided daily doses of many healthy types of bacteria.

In modern times many people have become more interested in probiotics.  A Russian physician named Metchnikoff developed a theory of longevity in the early 20th century.  During his time Balkan peasants enjoyed prolonged youth and a healthy old age. Metchnikoff hypothesized that growth of toxin producing organisms could be controlled by the implantation of beneficial cultures in the gut. 2

Nowadays through the use of antibiotics, over the counter drugs and stress our intestinal flora is often out of balance.  An optimal balance in flora is associated with good health in humans. 3.

Numerous studies have shown that lactic acid producing bacteria have many beneficial effects to promote health.  These probiotics produce metabolites such as lactic acid and antibiotic like substances called bacteriocins that suppress the growth of putrefactive microorganisms.  Probiotics help in pre-digestion of food and the production of vitamin B and improve the bioavailabilty of minerals 4. and other nutrients like soy isoflavones 5..  Additionally, their cell wall components and metabolic products provide immune support and anti inflammatory action. 6.

Not only do these good bacteria relieve a host of ailments from constipation to diarrhea, they also provide sound insurance against common pathogens.  Probiotics help prevent some food borne illnesses.  Both bifidobacteria and lactobacilli inhibit common microbial pathogens, such as samonella, campylobacters, eschierchia, and shigella. 7.

No image set is happy to provide a wide selection of probiotics manufactured in Canada by Webber Naturals, Natural Factors and Holista.


1. (WHO, 2001)

2. (Metchnikoff, 1910)

3. (Shahani, KM et al. 1908; Gorbach, SL, 1990 Mitsuoka, T 1998)

4. (Wood BJB ed, 1992)

5. (Pham TT, et al. 2007)

6.   (Bogdanov, IG, 1978; Hosono, A et al; Reddy, GV et al; 1983; Shahani, KM et al. 1983)

7.   (Hunter.T, 1993)


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